Saturday, January 21, 2012


As I think I have mentioned in this blog before, we (Jimmy and me) are part of a Friday night operating group, called the South Jersey Operators.  I'm not sure if there is any official status to the group.  Most members seem to be active in the local NMRA Division and some in local clubs.   We stumble upon the group after being invited to the annual cookout that the group has every August.  Basically the members get together every Friday night to run trains.  The host layouts alternate by week, with the same four layouts cycling through, with the occasional substitute layouts added on months with five fridays.  Operations usually last from 7pm until midnight.  We used to make almost every friday night for awhile, however, lately, our attendance has been spotty with work, family, school, boy scouts,...etc... coinciding.  We were fortunate to be able to get away this past friday night for the first time in awhile and had the pleasure of operating on PJ Mattson's Raccoon Valley RR.  PJ's large layout is alway fun to operate on.  With the cold weather and snow predicted there was a light turnout with only 12 of us running trains.   Jimmy ran the switcher in the railroads main yard, while I was assigned to the steel mill.  PJ has a portion of his layout dedicated to a steel mill.  As of late he has added a coke works on a new branch that adds some interest to operations you have to enter and cross the main to get to the branch from the steel mill.  By the time I returned with loaded coke cars to the mill, a local had arrived and was tying up the main waiting for cars from the mill, about half of I had yet to spot.  I quickly picked up the cars he needed and exchanged them for the drop-offs.   I had just enough time to spot the new cars and pull the empty ore jennies before the ore train arrived with ore for the mill.  

Switching out Slag Pots at the Blast Furnace
For those of you coming to the 2012 Steel Mill Modelers Meet, hopefully PJ's layout will be one of those on the tour.  

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